– 7: Played with a bit more responsibility than before though he can still improve. Made less stupid errors like in previous games. Took one for the team with a brave piece of defending to stop Gabilondo. Kept the extremely shaky defence together, even though it might not have been very convincing.

Heinze – 6: Made an assist for the second time in as many days and was unfortunate that the penalty was given for his foul on the attacker. Somehow the referee belived that he had slapped that guy.

Marcelo – 6.5: I just love his energy on the field. Made one horrendous tackle in the first half for which he received a booking but he did it to stop Bilbao from attacking on the break. Didn’t attack as much in the first half. Was given more room to push forward when Madrid were playing on the break. Kept the left flank fairly secure at all times.

Sneijder – 8: Ran the show from midfield as he dictated the pace and direction of his team’s attack. Scored one and made the second and looked dangerous every time he had the ball.

Gago – 7.5: Exceptional today. Looked more of the old Gago of Boca Juniors today, ran tirelessly to clean up in midfield. Didn’t have much support from his fellow midfielders. Assisted the winning goal by robbing the ball off the opposition and slipping in a lovely through ball to Higuaín.

Van der Vaart – 6.5: Slightly overshadowed by his compatriots. A rather subdued performance but he still played his part in midfield and in attack. He usually performs his best when is playing with a purpose. Looked like a waste in the midfield today

Higuaín – 8.5: Had a goal unfairly disallowed and another denied by the woodwork and still managed two goals. Could have had a hat-trick at the very least. Man of the Match performance after Gago that is.

Raúl – 4: downrightly anonymous. Barely had any meaningful touches of the ball and yet he was still left huffing and puffing by the end of the first half. Came to life briefly late on in the game, but surprised to see him on the pitch right up until the final minutes.

Robben – 7.5: Very vivacious with his mazy runs and played a few clever through balls. A bit indecisive towards the end with his passing and decision making when his side were playing on the counter. Sometimes plays a bit too one dimensional (lets make that two dimensional). Sometimes he cuts inside too much.

Guti: 7 – Solid Performance. He marshaled the midfield a bit when introduced, but in the end he is not one to get stuck in.His passinghelped Gago focus more on his defensive duties, but it also kept possession for us a little more easily to kill off the game. Almost had a goal but his shot was charged down.

Diarra: 6 – He kept things under control in the end when things could have gone bad. Had a calming effect on the team but unfortunately Gago performed too well, so Diarra is going to be bench warming for a while now.

Schuster’s Post Match Comments:

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Bernd Schuster prefered not to comment on the referee and said his team was superior throughout the match.

Are you worried about having conceded so many goals?
I am because we made many mistakes.

On Saturday you said you didn’t remember this referee. Did you remember him tonight?
I don’t need to remember him.

Mijatovic said he’s worried about refereeing decisions against the team…
We all are.

Does this victory taste better thanks to the results earned by other teams?
It’s always hard to play a match immediately after a Champions League clash. This victory is very important thanks to the results earned by other teams. It doesn’t matter how we won; the important thing is to be in the top positions of the table.

Have all doubts surrounding the team after the Turin defeat been cleared?
You were the only ones who had any doubts, not us. A team doesn’t change in three days for losing or winning a game. We weren’t worried about that defeat.

Ramos didn’t play. Was it a tactical decision or a punishment?
Everything but a punishment.

Do you think his absence influenced the final score?
Decisions made by the referee hurt us and were detrimental to our game. Our opponent benefitted from this. We were nervous after the incomprehensible penalty. It was good that it happened before half-time because we were able to start all over again. We were better throughout the match and we should have finished it off earlier.

Has it surprised you to hear Cristiano Ronaldo say he will play for Manchester United next season?
It shouldn’t surprise me because he is the one who decides where he should play.

Compare that with what Chaparro had to say post-match:

“It’s impossible to know what it’s like to win against Madrid.”

“You can take it however you want it to mean.

“The referee was out to make sure we finished the game with ten men. Both teams could have had players sent off… yet it was only Athletic,”

“I believe that we played at a very high level and I hope we can keep that up for the next game.”

Then add in a sprinkling of bullshit…

Mijatovic’s Post-Match:

I am heppy with the team’s performance and with the final score. We played very well in the second half. Nevertheless, I am not going to hide my preoccupation with the refereeing decisions that have been called against us in the past few weeks. I’m worried. I don’t know what’s happening. I don’t want to say much about it, but I don’t like this situation.”

“Higuaín’s disallowed goal was not offside, the penalty was very strict, so was Marcelo’s booking… That’s without mentioning how it was against Atletico and Espanyol. Referees hurt us in all cases. It seems people don’t want Real Madrid to win their third consecutive league title. We want this to change.”

“We prefer to believe this is just mere coincidence, but too much has happened in just a few games. The only thing we can do is move on. It seems it’s easy for referees to call something against us when in doubt. We’ve talked about it and we now express our worries. There are many games left.”

“This week has been tough because of our defeat against Juventus and the little time we had to prepare for tonight’s clash. Regarding Sergio Ramos’ comments, I’d like to say that players sometimes don’t think about the message they have to deliver when they speak; we all make mistakes. Nevertheless, the coach’s decision to bench him had nothing to do with what he said. Míchel Salgado is a hard worker who also deserves to play. Many of our men play in many games, so we decide to give them time to rest.
Lineups

Real Madrid
Casillas
Míchel Salgado
Pepe
Heinze
Marcelo
Gago
Robben
Sneijder Goal 13?
sub Diarra 83?
Van der Vaart
sub Guti 65?
Higuaín Goal 29?, 64?
Raúl
sub Saviola 93?

Athletic Club
Iraizoz
Iraola Goal 45?
Aitor Ocio
Balenziaga
Amorebieta
Orbaiz
David López
Yeste
sub Susaeta 88?
Etxeberria Goal 35?
sub Garmendia 61?
Gabilondo
sub Casas 86?
Llorente

Match Stats
Real Madrid Athletic Bilbao
Shots (on Goal) 20(6) 15(5)
Fouls 15 16
Corner Kicks 7 6
Offsides 3 2
Time of Possession 54% 46%
Yellow Cards 4 3
Red Cards 0 1
Saves 3 3

Sniejder with a hell of a left foot finish

Higuain showing his left foot skills, in response to Sniejder’s

Crappy defending. Not the best goal keeping in the world either. Can’t blame Casillas. The offside trap failed there.

Stupid Referee, that’s all for this goal

World class play from Gago and composed finish from higuain